March 13, 2007
Bluebook Pet Peeves
Posted by Christine Hurt

Dan Solove asks today what our Bluebook pet peeves are and mentions his top two:  unnecessary parentheticals and unnecessary citations to statements of common knowledge and nonexistence of authority.  These are definitely widely-held pet peeves.  I wouldn't pin these sins on the Bluebook, however, as the Bluebook only recommends parentheticals for commonly used signals and doesn't speak to the question of when to cite at all.

I do however, have a new Bluebook pet peeve that is particular to the 18th edition.  (I've more thoroughly covered the 18th edition in my paper "The Bluebook at Eighteen:  Reflecting and Ratifying Current Trends in Legal Scholarship.")  The 18th edition contains a revised rule 18.2.4, which provides guidance and examples on citing to blog entries, among other things.  If I were to conjure up a citation for a blog post, I would be concerned with (1) the author; (2) the title of the post; (3) the title of the blog; (4) the URL and (5) the date.  I would conjure up a citation that was similar to a journal, magazine or newspaper article, with the author's name, then title of post, then title of blog, then location (URL), then date.  However, this is not what the 18th edition does.

According to Rule 18.2.4, if the blog is a solo author blog, then you do not include the author's name.  So, if I want to cite to a post by my colleague Larry Solum on Legal Theory Blog, the cite will not contain his name.  In addition, the citation will not contain the title of the post although almost all blog posts have titles, and the titles have very interesting information in them.  However, the citation will include the time of the day of the posting, although that information will be irrelevant for almost all blog posts.  The format is thus:

Legal Theory Blog, URL (Month Day, Year, Hour:Minutes CST).

As I say in my article, any Bluebook historian will tell you that the rules that have changed most often are the rules regarding author's names. From last names and first initials only to last name, first name and middle initial to "the author's full name as it appears on the publicaton," iterative changes to how we provide credit reflect the fact that credit is as important to legal scholars as to the Dustin Hoffman character in Wag the Dog. So, I recommend to all law review editors out there who are no doubt using this rule regularly to exercise their discretion to adopt a more enlightened citation format for blog postings!

Legal Scholarship | Bookmark

TrackBacks (1)

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8345157d569e200d8342f995a53ef

Links to weblogs that reference Bluebook Pet Peeves:

» The Moronic Bluebook Rule for Citing Blawgs from ProfessorBainbridge.com ® ...
"Christine Hurt observes of the Uniform System of Legal Citation (a.k.a., Bluebook):The 18th edition ..." [more] (Tracked on March 15, 2007 @ 12:38)
Comments (11)

1. Posted by Cathy on March 13, 2007 @ 9:22 | Permalink

It's weird how the Bluebook form plays up datestamps and plays down author's names. I've suggested that instead blogs should be cited just like articles are cited. So, for instance, instead of this:

Susan Crawford Blog, http://scrawford.blogware.com/blog/ (Apr. 27 2006 22:05 EDT).

which would completely ream someone like Howard Bashman, whose name is not part of his blog title or URL and therefore would never show up in the cite, it should be

Susan Crawford, Onward, SUSAN CRAWFORD BLOG, Apr. 27, 2006, http://scrawford.blogware.com/blog/_archives/2006/4/27/1917067.html.

I can think of few instances where that form wouldn't work. Well, ok, I can think of one: linking to a subjectline-less post on a teenager's MySpace page. For that, the original Bluebook form would probably be better. It's just kind of sad, though, that the Bluebook is keying its recommendation to that particular form of electronic media and failing to recognize the tremendous scholarship that lies out there on proper blogs and allowing us to effectively capture a reference to it.


2. Posted by k on March 13, 2007 @ 12:08 | Permalink

Sigh. I am the person on my journal who is (mostly) responsible for making sure citations are properly Bluebooked, but refused to use the silly BB blog citation format in my own comment. It is about the silliest rule I've ever seen--particularly since it does not prefer a permalink over the main blog URL. If a permalink exists, by all means, give it! Please don't force editors and readers to slog through (sometimes badly constructed) archive pages to find that one post from that one day at that specific time. Gah.


3. Posted by Clayton Jones on March 15, 2007 @ 7:24 | Permalink

You might consider, also, a rule stating a preference for permalinks that go directly to the post in question, and only to that post. This, as contrasted with the practice at, for example, The Volokh Conspiracy, where the permalinks offered up on each post (through the datestamp) actually point to the corresponding weekly archive page.


4. Posted by Annoying Old Guy on March 15, 2007 @ 7:33 | Permalink

The problem with permalinks is that they are very long and therefore cause typographic problems (think of how a long URL can mess up the comment box on a weblog like this). How, then, to uniquely identify the post? The time of day information does that. The Bluebook authors may also consider that information less subject to bit rot than a permalink (which, sadly, can be not all that permanent).


5. Posted by Jennifer on March 15, 2007 @ 7:51 | Permalink

Some blog authors (like me) don't print the time stamps on each post. I started doing that when I was blogging from work and didn't want to get busted for posts that showed up in the middle of the day. I don't do that any longer, but I've never bothered to put the time stamp back on my posts.


6. Posted by nuoc hoa on September 30, 2009 @ 2:53 | Permalink

I can think of few instances where that form wouldn't work. Well, ok, I can think of one: linking to a subjectline-less post on a teenager's MySpace page. For that, the original Bluebook form would probably be better. It's just kind of sad, though, that the Bluebook is keying its recommendation to that particular form of electronic media and failing to recognize the tremendous scholarship that lies out there on proper blogs and allowing us to effectively capture a reference to it.


7. Posted by Nước hoa ô tô on April 7, 2011 @ 0:38 | Permalink

You might consider, also, a rule stating a preference for permalinks that go directly to the post in question, and only to that post. This, as contrasted with the practice at, for example, The Volokh Conspiracy, where the permalinks offered up on each post (through the datestamp) actually point to the corresponding weekly archive page.


8. Posted by Buy Generic Viagra on June 17, 2011 @ 15:23 | Permalink

the new book is better than original one, however I think there are some argumments unnecessaries, or atr least that's what I get.


9. Posted by Coach Factory on April 24, 2012 @ 1:04 | Permalink

I didn't know Curley Howard played for BYU!


10. Posted by Coach Factory on April 24, 2012 @ 1:12 | Permalink

I didn't know Curley Howard played for BYU!

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

Bloggers
Papers
Posts
Recent Comments
Popular Threads
Search The Glom
The Glom on Twitter
Archives by Topic
Archives by Date
July 2014
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    
Miscellaneous Links